The Gospel is not complicated

I pastor a Teen Challenge center and have the privilege in working with all kinds of people of all walks of life. I am always amazed at how people will take the simplicity of the Gospel and make it a convoluted mess, that is no Gospel at all.  Recently, I have been working with a lot of men caught in the grip of  pornography. The statements that inevitably come up is that “it is complicated” and “it not that easy to quit.” Both statements place all the ability on the individual and set them up for failure every time. What I have found is that “can’t” and “won’t” are brother and sister in the mess of addictions.  More times than not,” I can’t” really means “I won’t.” In addition, what they are really saying is, “I am NOT willing to do what it takes,” most of the folks I work with have three things in common and you can find this to be true with a drug addict as well. 1. They spend a lot of time ISOLATED. 2. Most of their relationships are broken or strained. 3. They have NO concept of real accountability.  For the person caught in the cycle of porn addiction, they spend copious amounts of time alone, fantasizing of the perfect women or man and often have a very skewed since of what a healthy relationship looks like.  Grandiose ambitions, with narcissistic sense of themselves, ie “no one really understands me, and I have a special set of needs.” The other thing that I have come to believe is that they often feel that sex is their greatest unmet need and that if they had a relationship they would be whole. Which, if you consider masturbation a part of sex, these folks are having more sex than anyone!  Jesus is the only one who can make us whole, in fact, apart from Jesus we have no real hope to recover from anything. The secret place is compromised with pornography! In other words, what I do in my private “secret time” is what manifests in my public life. Discord, strife, envy, lust, immorality and the like can be traced back to a disheveled secret place.  It is ironic that most of today’s addictions are things practiced in secret over and over again. The Gospel message always came with an imperative- REPENT! for the kingdom of God is at hand! Somewhere we have to turn the “REPEAT into REPENT.”  The suffering of the flesh and the loss of our “secret pleasures” is where most stop. At the gym I work out at in Anthem has a statement that goes like this; “most dream of success while others wake up and make it happen.” Now, I am sure that what Jesus did on the Cross of Calvary was not a dream but a reality. He took ALL of this world’s sin upon HIMSELF and dieing ONCE and for EVERYONE”S SIN, made it possible for ALL people to become FREE! Now, what part of that is so complicated? ALL who call upon the LORD shall be saved. ALL means ALL, even the addicted, correct? “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death. Rev 12:11 Appropriating the BLOOD is first, maintaining my testimony regardless of the circumstances is second and the hard part, not to love my life so much that even when faced with death, I leave the Blood and my testimony for a moment of “perceived freedom.”  THE POWER OF THE CROSS IS GREATER THAN THE POWER OF SIN. End of argument. Freedom to choose the right path is what we have!

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